Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Growing Heirloom Lettuce


For the past several weeks we have been enjoying lettuce, lettuce and more lettuce.  This is the first year I've ever grown lettuce and I'm not sure what took me so long: it's easy to plant, grows quickly and tastes deliciously fresh.   


  I planted seeds in the ground in three small rows and so far it has just about grown quicker than we can eat: we've shared with the neighbors, my parents and the chickens!  Yesterday, while we were driving home from our beach vacation, my mom sent my husband a text, "Warn Andrea that her garden is out of control, weeds and all!  I've been picking lettuce all week!" 


So far I haven't touched the weeds, but I did harvest some lettuce first thing this morning (smile).  I've found that the easiest way to harvest is to use kitchen scissors and snip about an inch above the base of the lettuce, so that the larger leaves are easily removed but it doesn't upset the roots.  Literally, it seems like within just days the lettuce has grown back and is ready for harvesting again.  I would love to learn how to grow it (mostly) year round... I'm going to try!  (If you have any tips, I'd love to hear!) 


I planted three varieties of heirloom lettuce: Little Gem, May Queen and Grandpa Admire's (all from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds).  All three varieties taste wonderful and so far haven't been affected by the warm days.


 As you can imagine, we've been eating salads pretty much on a daily basis.  I make this salad for my husband's lunch more often than I can count and frequently for myself as well.  I toss in some lettuce, chopped almonds, goat cheese and whatever fruit I have in the fridge (oranges, strawberries or blueberries all taste delicious).  The dressing is a simple combination of equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar (I used balsamic in this picture) with a dash of honey, salt and pepper. 


On a personal note, we had a wonderful vacation at the beach in Florida with my husband's family!  It felt so nice to relax, play at the beach and take in the warm sunshine.  The girls had so much fun!  But it's always nice to be back home too, weeds and all (smile).  

 Hope you have a great week!

37 comments:

  1. Hi Andrea, so glad you and your family had a fun, safe trip! I know your sweet, furry friends were so glad to see you! Your yummy lettuce makes me want a fresh salad :) I wanted so badly to have a garden this year, but couldn't because of moles in our neighborhood. Maybe next year. I was working on refreshing our patio area today and thought of you :) I can't wait to see your porch reveal. Have a great week!

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    1. Thank you, Deni! I hope you will be able to plant a garden next year! I had hoped to share a part of our front porch last week, but I had a spray paint fiasco that I still need to work on. ;-)

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  2. I LOVE little gem! So buttery, small one eats it as quickly as it comes out of the ground.

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    1. Oh, how sweet! It's definitely a favorite here too.

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  3. We love growing lettuce also and always look forward to having salads pretty much every day. In fact, I hate in the winter when I have to buy lettuce. I have been told to grow it in a pot through the winter, but I think it is just too cold here. However, I might try in a window box.

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    1. Now that we have had the convenience of lettuce in the garden, it is hard to think of going without it! Hopefully I can learn how to grow it through the winter here. :-) A window box is a great idea.

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  4. I'm so relieved you're back! Seeing your decorating/projects/adventures makes me feel so..... cozy. Yours is my favorite blog because of the peace I always feel when you let us peek into your life. So, thanks!

    I just pulled out the last of my lettuce because it's getting too hot here in the Utah desert. There is a wonderful man close to where I live who grows lettuce year round outside in the ground. Here is a link to a blog post you might find interesting...
    http://calebwarnock.blogspot.com/2012/12/fresh-lettuce-24-degrees-on-dec-20.html

    Johanne

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Johanne... they mean so much to me. I grew up in the west, so I understand how hard it is to grow lettuce in the summer... I'm still amazed by how things grow here in the south. Thank you for the link too!

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  5. I want some so bad now. The lettuce looks lovely and yummy. Thanks for the tips on the salad dressing.
    Love it!
    Lisa
    leeshideaway

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! Do you have lettuce growing in your garden? I've found the equal portions of vinegar and oil work great and it's always fun to add in something different. :-) Hope you have a great week!

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  6. Hmm may have to try to grow some lettuce! I have always heard it is picky. Glad you had fun trip!

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    1. Hi Shanna! I think that may have been what prevented me from planting it, but so far it has been the least picky! :-) Miss you!

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  7. There is nothing like fresh home-grown lettuce. My Mom used to pick it, rinse it, sprinkle it with SUGAR and roll it up for us for a treat. And you wonder why I like sugar?! xo Diana

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  8. Glad you had a good vacation! Your lettuce looks fabulous - if it tastes anything like it look, YUM!

    Judy

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    1. Thanks, Judy! Wish I could share with you all! :-)

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  9. I grow heirloom lettuce as well and love the Baker Creek Rocky Top Mix.

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    1. I definitely want to try the Rocky Top Mix next year... it looks wonderful!

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  10. I love anything fresh from the garden, but there is something so pretty about those tender, bright green lettuce leaves. Gorgeous. I would be eating salads with gusto at every meal!

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  11. Yum, your salad looks delicious. I'd love to grow lettuce. I wonder if it does well in containers? When I was 13 my parents bought a house in upstate NY in the month of July. In the back yard was a huge vegetable garden that had several kinds of lettuces. I remember that first summer how I enjoyed picking it for the evening supper. There were also carrots, potatoes, squashes, several kinds of beans, peas, strawberries - even rhubarb. Each subsequent year the garden got a bit smaller, more manageable. But we always had lettuce.
    Claudia

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    1. Hi Claudia, I think that lettuce would do really well in containers. Makes me wish I had tried it long ago! :-) Loved reading about your garden...

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  12. I don't know why we haven't tried growing lettuce with as much salads as we eat, too. Must check into doing this I guess when it gets cooler.

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  13. How fun to grow your own lettuce. I am an aspiring gardener at the moment. Someday I will have a vegetable garden! It's people like you that inspire me to do so. Sounds wonderful.

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    1. You will love it! I don't know a lot, but learn as I go and enjoy every minute. :-)

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  14. Your crop is definitely plentiful, what every new gardener needs! Beautiful!! I am not sure how cold your winters are, but here in Ohio - We grow year round- In the winter we use a cold frame. As handy as Justus is, he could have one built in an afternoon. Can make it from old windows and wood you have around (just don't use treated wood around food products- Which I am sure you know.) Hope this helps. I love your blog, -saw you were going to be in Country Living, and I haven't looked back. It is always nice to look at all the high end remodels, but I can identify with you. Doing the work ourselves, as we can afford it, and finding all the beauty just for the looking. Good Wishes and Blessings to you.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing the tip about a cold frame! I'm definitely going to give it a try this winter. Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment. It really means a lot to me (and my husband too)... you wouldn't believe how much comments like yours encourage me to keep blogging and to keep working around our house! Hope you have a wonderful week.

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  15. How wonderful it must be to gather the greens/lettuces from your garden and I love the variety that you have!...So glad you had a great time in Florida...I miss the Sunshine State!

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  16. Oh your lettuce looks great !!!!! I just love salads ! Hope you have a great week !

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  17. I love to eat salads but I'm not very good at making them! Fresh lettuce would really be awesome but I stink at growing vegetables! Not enough sun in my back yard. Amazing photos (as always!)

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  18. We love eating salads this time of the year.Wish we could have our own garden but we have too many critters that would think it was an open salad bar LOL!
    xx
    Anne

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  19. Love the lettuce. Do you use regular vinegar for the dressing?

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    1. Balsamic vinegar is my favorite and is what I used in the picture above, but I also keep brown rice, apple cider, raspberry, white wine and red wine vinegar in my pantry and use them all frequently. Equal portions of extra virgin olive oil and any of the vinegars work as a great base and then you can add in different ingredients to make fun flavors, like a splash of honey, maple syrup, lime juice, lemon juice, or a little bit of garlic, etc. :-) Thanks for reading!

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  20. so glad your vaca was great! your salad looks yummy:)

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  21. So glad you had a great vacation! These salad greens look so lovely. I bet the taste amazing!

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  22. I'm hoping to get some lettuce to harvest before the warmer weather shows up (which is traditionally on July 5 around her in Western WA!!). I have strawberries starting to turn red so I covered them with netting. The robins were eyeing them!

    http://northislandcottage.blogspot.com/

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  23. Nothing better than growing and eating homegrown lettuce!! Congrats on such a good crop and that salad looks amazing!
    Nancy
    http://wildoakdesigns.blogspot.com

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  24. Love your beautiful blog! You and your husband are such a good team and so talented. We grow our vegetables here in NC (Zone 7b). We make sure that whatever vegetables we want to have before winter comes are fully grown by the beginning of November, so our last planting date is somewhere around the beginning to middle of September. In the beginning of November we winterize our garden by spreading straw around the crops and by building arches from PVC pipes. We then lay heavy white plastic over the arches and hold it to the ground by laying some bricks on the plastic, this way we can remove the bricks and the plastic to take care or harvest the plants whenever we want. The soil is cold as a refrigerator but the "mini green house" keeps the air around the leaves of the crop warm this way it stays fresh and doesn't freeze. Last winter we had carrots, lettuce, radish, green onions and few more crops all winter long. I will blog about it this fall in my blog at ladyleeshome.com and would love to send you a link. Pictures always explain better. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You have a beautiful family.

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